This recession has accelerated the shift in consumer travel behavior to what we called the purpose driven traveler. As people scrutinized their spending, they are looking for valuable investments and meaningful getaways. “People will emerge from the current recession forever changed. The global recession has changed them,” said David Kenny, managing partner of Publicis Group’s VivaKi.
About 87% of respondents to a 2008 American Express study indicated that travel involving personal interests will remain the same or increase over the next two years. The survey results overwhelmingly showed that people whose vacations are tied to personal interests expect to continue to travel by acting more resourceful in their planning.
A few interesting survey findings:
— 87% of travelers indicate that personal interests drive the majority of their vacation plans
— 60%* of travelers say the stronger they feel about a passion, the further they’ve traveled for it
— 57%* of respondents are willing to travel any distance to explore their personal interests
— 36% of those surveyed said they wouldn’t consider a vacation destination that doesn’t help them fulfill at least one personal passion
— 71%* of respondents have discovered a “new passion” while on vacation
— 34% of vacationers have discovered a passion on vacation and incorporated it into their home life
*% – agree strongly/somewhat on a 4-point scale.
Vacations that incorporate personal passions also tend to be longer by almost double the number of days compared to those trips that do not include personal interests (16 days versus 9); more frequent (6 trips versus 3); and more expensive ($3,900 versus $2,400).
Environmental realities and new global leadership have also contributed to this purpose driven traveler model. “High-priced destinations have seen a huge fall off, but vacations in destinations that encourage connection to your travel partners, nature, history or culture are the new vogue.” Travel companies are responding to this trend by offering meaningful experiences and promoting togetherness among travelers.
Amble Resorts, an ecologically and culturally sensitive real estate development company, is developing The Resort at Isla Palenque — an island resort tucked into Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui that will cater specifically to this new generation of travelers searching for meaning. “Purpose-driven vacationers will have innumerable chances to create meaning and vitality by learning and experiencing things indigenous to the island and its surroundings: history, traditions, art, and wildlife.” says Amble Resorts President, Ben Loomis.